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Homeschool on a Dime: Curriculum for 3 kids on $100


There have been a few years of our homeschool journey that we haven’t had much room for extras. While I believe in investing in my children’s education, sometimes it’s a struggle to pay the bills, much less anything extra. While I have already bought our homeschool curriculum for the year, here’s what I would buy if I only had $100. I’m hoping my tips will encourage you! It is possible to homeschool on a dime!

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Posts on my blog may contain affiliate links, which help support my blog at no additional charge to you. See my disclosure for more info.

If you’re trying to save money on your homeschool books this year, be sure to check out my post on how to homeschool on a budget.

Math

Math:

It would be really hard to make it through life without a good understanding of mathematics. I mean it’s a basic. Part of the 3 R’s, right? Reading, Writing, and ‘Rithmatic? But your math program doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. I have tried several different math programs and have always come back around to Saxon Math. My kids just do better with the spiral learning, and lots of review. You can get decent used Saxon Math books for pretty cheap. I bought a used 2nd edition Saxon Math book for $5 earlier this year, so if you keep an eye out, you can definitely get a deal! I always buy the hardcover versions and keep them for the next kid, so it makes it even more cost-effective. My max budget for a used Saxon textbook is around $15.

Bonus Tip for Math: Saxon Math publishers have given the Virtual Homeschool Group permission to create online classes based on the third edition of the Saxon Math books. They have videos that teach the lesson, and then the student completes the homework using a online quiz each day. It keeps track of their grades and makes a potentially boring math curriculum a little more exciting. The online classes are free, although VHSG is supported by donations and volunteer help, so if you use this resource they ask that you pitch in to help support the site.

One Caveat: I don’t really like the early elementary Saxon Math books though, so I use something different for Kindergarten through 3rd grade. This year I plan to use Life of Fred and some supplemental online math games for my youngest. Life of Fred is cheapest… you guessed it… if you buy it used!

 

Science

Science:

My oldest daughter loves science. She has dreams of being a nurse or veterinarian, so I want her to have a good understanding of science. We have chosen to go with Apologia Science for middle and high school. It can tend to be pretty expensive though, so I have to be creative in finding discounts on this curriculum. If I am on a really tight budget, I buy the textbook used, and forgo the Notebooking Journal. It’s nice to have, but you can definitely put the labs and chapter answers in a spiral notebook. You can usually find the earlier editions for much cheaper too. We use Virtual Homeschool Group for this one too!

For my younger two, I have found it to be easier and cheaper to do their science together. This year we are studying Chemistry together (which we are all really excited about!) We have decided to use Christian Kids Explore Chemistry this year. This is the first year I have used this curriculum, so I will let you know how we like it. It comes with a CD with notebooking pages on it already, so no extra expense for that! Yay!

 

How to homeschool 3 kids for under 100 dollar. Homeschool on a dime!

History:

I believe it is entirely possible to homeschool History excellently for completely free if you have access to a half-way decent library. We live in a small town and our library often doesn’t have the exact books I want to use in our studies, so I have invested in oodles of living history books for our home library. But if my budget was tight, this is the first place I would cut. There is almost always something that we could use at the library, even if it’s not the exact book I wanted.

We are using Simply Charlotte Mason’s Modern Times History this year, which is basically a schedule of when to read what book. The prepared curriculum guide makes it easier on the teacher, as the scheduling work is already done for you, but they have a free curriculum guide on their website, which lists their recommended books for each period in history. You can definitely use this free guide to help you schedule your own history readings.

Another really good free guide is from Guest Hollow. I used it as a basis for our studies last year and it worked out wonderfully. Just be aware that her curriculum has a lot in it. You don’t have to do everything listed in the lesson plans!

 

How to homeschool 3 kids for under 100 dollar. Homeschool on a dime!

Language Arts:

I don’t feel like I am very competent to teach Language Arts on my own, so I need a good curriculum to guide me. There are so many components to Language Arts that it would be easy to miss something.

For Beezus, we have used Learning Language Arts through Literature for the past several years, and I have been happy with it. If I have the money I buy the Student Book, but it would be entirely possible to teach this curriculum using only the teacher’s manual. The student book helps them be more independent, and adds a few enrichment activities, but it’s not absolutely necessary to the program. Be on the lookout for partially used student books for deep discounts.

For the younger two, I haven’t found a curriculum that I really like for elementary grades, especially for reluctant readers. This year I am trying out Emma Serl’s Primary Language Lessons and Intermediate Language Lessons, and we will see how we like them. These books are not very expensive even for the hardback version, but if your budget is really tight, both of these books are in the public domain and available on Google books: PLL and ILL. I will also have both kiddos read library books to me for a few minutes every day, just for the practice.

 

Bible

Bible:

One of the biggest reasons I homeschool is so that I can help encourage my children in their walk with God. Obviously you can still do this even if your kids go to public school, but I love the random opportunities for discussion that come up throughout the day. While I try to incorporate our walk with God into every subject, I also want to make sure we focus on Bible study as a part of our schooling as well.

There are so many Bible study programs it is hard to choose the best one! This year I plan to use Kim’s free My Time With God Journal for my girls. They will read and reflect on a Scripture passage, and then we will all discuss the passage during Morning Time. We will also work together on Scripture memory every morning using the Simply Charlotte Mason free system and printable verse cards.

We will also be using a free weekly devotional put out by our church organization. It has a short lesson and a few activities to go along with it.

If I had a few extra dollars, I would also be buying the Developing a Quiet Time Bible Study from Not Consumed. I just love everything she puts out!

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How to homeschool 3 kids for under 100 dollar. Homeschool on a dime!

Enrichment Studies

These are all of the other things that make homeschooling more sweet. Things like Art Appreciation, Hymns and Folk Songs, Music, Poetry, and more. We do our enrichment studies all together as a part of our Morning Time. I usually just use free printables from the internet or create my own printables for Morning Time, so no real curriculum for that. If you do want a written curriculum, Simply Charlotte Mason has some excellent resources. (Just in case I start sounding like a walking advertisement… No, I am not an affiliate of SCM, just a very satisfied customer!)

 

Homeschool on a Dime Break-down

Ok, so I have explained up above what curriculums I use and where I get them for cheap. Here’s the actual breakdown of the cost. The prices I use here are prices I have actually paid and/or what I could find it for on homeschoolclassifieds.com or on Homeschool Curriculum Facebook Groups (or this one, too) while writing this post. You might have to wait on the best deals to pop back up, because good deals on books are often snatched quickly.

I have provided Amazon links to buy all of these books new, but if you are trying to homeschool on a dime, be sure and check out the sources above or your local curriculum fair for what you need. I always appreciate it if you use my affiliate links, but I hope you are able to find these books used and save a bit of money like I do!

Beezus – Grade 8

Math Saxon Algebra 1/2 (Used) / VHSG homework and tests $5
History Library Books / Free Lesson plans from Guest Hollow or SCM Free
Science Apologia Physical Science Textbook(Used) / VHSG quizzes $25
English Learning Language Arts through Literature Gray (Used) $20
Bible  Quiet Time / Weekly Devotional / Daily Scripture Memory Free
Enrichment  Art Appreciation / Music / Poetry / etc. (Online Printables) Free
 Total for Beezus $50

 

Princess – Grade 5

Math Saxon 5/4 (already owned from Beezus) Already Owned
History Library Books / Free Lesson plans from Guest Hollow or SCM Free
Science Christian Kids Explore Chemistry (Used) $18
English Intermediate Language Lessons (Public Domain) Free
Bible Quiet Time / Weekly Devotional / Daily Scripture Memory Free
Enrichment Art Appreciation / Music / Poetry / etc. (Online Printables) Free
 Total for Princess  $18

Superman – Grade 3

Math Life of Fred Apples / Online Math Games $10
History Library Books / Free Lesson plans from Guest Hollow or SCM Free
Science Using the same curriculum as Princess N/A
English Primary Language Lessons (Public Domain) Free
Bible Quiet Time / Weekly Devotional / Daily Scripture Memory Free
Enrichment Art Appreciation / Music / Poetry / etc. (Online Printables) Free
 Total for Superman  $10

 

Grand Total for EVERYTHING

$78

So you can buy the curriculum for 3 kids for less than $100, and look…. I have enough left over to buy the Developing a Quiet Time Bible Study from Not Consumed that I wanted! Yay!

So what is your best tip for saving money on homeschool curriculum? What would you buy if you only had $100?

What-I-Would-Buy-With-$100-11292

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10 Comments

  • Amanda

    September 1, 2016 at 8:21 pm Reply

    Homeschool definitely doesn’t have to be expensive. I usually try to sell a few old school things to pay for the current year’s material, but I don’t always get to do that either. It’s totally possible to homeschool on a very, very tight budget. You gave great ideas here!

    • Amy Lanham

      September 5, 2016 at 11:45 am Reply

      Awesome! I’m glad you found it useful! I think sometimes people think they can’t homeschool due to finances, but if you are careful you can definitely homeschool without breaking the bank.

  • Jessica Foley

    September 17, 2016 at 9:12 pm Reply

    I’ve never actually looked into homeschooling – likely because we both work to be able to afford our home – but this post makes it seem do-able. At least the money part. I don’t think my kids would pay any attention to me trying to actually teach them things. But I’m glad to see you’re making it work for your family.
    #Alittlebitofeverything
    Jessica Foley recently posted…My Life Chronicles: Episode 1 – Cause For ConcernMy Profile

  • Amber Harrop

    September 21, 2016 at 6:44 am Reply

    Great tips on keeping the cost down for homeschooling Amy – thanks for sharing with I am PInnable
    Amber Harrop recently posted…Menu Planning Monday – Save Monday and Time with Menu PlanningMy Profile

  • L. E. Mastilock

    October 12, 2016 at 11:59 am Reply

    There is so much you can find for free online, at the library, handed down from other homeschool families. I’ve always put together an eclectic mix. So far the only thing I’ve spent money on is a subscription to readingeggs, an online reading game, art supplies and extra classes in our homeschool curriculum. This year, our 5th year, is the first time I am using an actual math curriculum with workbooks and textbooks, but that is partly because our new homeschool charter school lets us borrow it for free.

  • Brandi Raae

    October 12, 2016 at 12:37 pm Reply

    Homeschooling on a budget can definitely be difficult!! For high school foreign language this year, I was glad to find allinonehighschool.com where there are lots of free resources. I always look for free study questions on line for literature or write my own questions. Looks like you’ve done a fantastic job with deals!

    • Amy Lanham

      October 12, 2016 at 1:10 pm Reply

      Yes! I love allinonehomeschool.com! I haven’t used the high school courses yet, but we have definitely used the items for younger kiddos, and I always have it in the back of my mind for resources if I am building a unit study. It’s really amazing how much is available online for free, if you have the time to search for it.

  • Christy

    October 30, 2016 at 1:32 am Reply

    These are such great ideas and resources! I usually make a full list of curriculum in the beginning of the summer, then spend the next couple of months searching all my sources for used & discounted versions. It’s definitely helped us save money!

    • Amy Lanham

      October 30, 2016 at 5:38 pm Reply

      Yes! I always start about March deciding what worked for us and what didn’t. Then I spend a LOT of time finding the best deal on everything!

  • Coffee & Books! Need I Say More?

    November 4, 2016 at 1:32 pm Reply

    […] Homeschool on a Dime: Curriculum for 3 kids on $100 Amy is sharing how she completes this seemingly impossible task […]

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